The freighter is the third 737-300F operating flights solely on behalf of the Chinese e-tailer, and is the first operated by Longhao Airlines.
As JD ramps up its airport-to-airport and door-to-door express services, airfreight is expected to play a growing role. If long-term plans pan out, the trio of freighters could be the tip of the iceberg. The company is working with the CAAC to launch its own airline, sources familiar with the company’s plans have told Cargo Facts. Estimates for medium and long-term fleet targets vary widely, but the company declined to comment.
Last week, plans for an air hub in the city of Wuhu surfaced. The Wuhu Municipal Government and JD signed a cooperative agreement on Oct. 26 and announced plans for the hub that would leverage the region’s recently greenlit free-trade zone. On Sept. 20, the Chinese Council approved three new zones in Beijing, Hunan and Anhui to boost trade from China’s interior, according to a statement from the government.
JD was unable to provide specifics on its plans for the hub or how soon it could be operational. Wuhu boasts a new greenfield airport, Wuhu Xuanzhou (WHA), as well as Wuhu Wanli (WHU), a former military base.
None of JD’s flights currently operate out of Wuhu. Longhao started service for JD on Oct. 25 on routes that resemble those already operated by Loong Air on behalf of JD, primarily between Wuxi (WUX), Tianjin (TSN) and Shenzhen (SZX).
The Cargo Facts Consulting Global E-Commerce Logistics Outlook is now available. The report is based on Cargo Facts Consulting’s examination of domestic and cross-border e-commerce, and its effect on key segments such as postal, express, contract flying, air cargo and airports. For more information, visit CFCinsights.com